Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says Works and Infrastructure Minister Jack Warner was chosen to act in her absence from T&T for the next seven days because of his competence. She said so in a brief interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday. "He is a competent person to act as PM. He has acted before and I have no reason to believe he would not do a good job," PM Persad-Bissessar said. Warner was the first minister to act for Persad-Bissessar and deputised frequently in the early months of the two-year People's Partnership. Persad-Bissessar also has chosen Congress of the People (COP) leader Winston Dookeran and leader of the Movement for Social Justice, Errol McLeod. The COP and the MSJ now have new leaders in Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar and Senator David Abdulah respectively.
Ramadhar also was given a 24-hour acting appointment as PM. He has subsequently made public criticisms of the Prime Minister for her role in the United National Congress' poaching of former COP member and mayor Marlene Coudray.Since Persad-Bissessar's appointment as Prime Minister she always has appointed elected MPs to act as PM. During the ongoing dispute between members of the PP Government, the only people to act in her absence have been Ramadhar and Warner, who is the chairman of the UNC. A release issued earlier from her office said Warner would act as PM as Persad-Bissessar departs Port-of-Spain today for Belize to participate in two Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) events. Tomorrow, she will launch the Caribbean Local Economic Development Programme. That programme is a CAN$23.2 million six-year project funded by the Canadian International Development Association, which seeks to strengthen local governance and stimulate local economic growth throughout the region.
Persad-Bissessar will also participate in the CLGF annual board meeting on Thursday. She will later travel to New York to address a United Nations high-level thematic debate on "the State of the World Economy and Finance in 2012."
She also is expected to meet with executive director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, to identify opportunities for further co-operation between the UN and T&T. The PM was also invited to address New York University's convocation ceremony on Friday.
Persad-Bissessar will then travel to Barbados for a special Caricom meeting to discuss the Caribbean Court of Justice, Last month Persad-Bissessar told Parliament T&T would move to abolish criminal appeals to the Privy Council and accept the CCJ for such matters. She returns home on May 22.